All of the readings this week deal with emotions and their influence on our perceptions and judgments. Even though Iíve been interested in emotional
research for awhile, this is the first time that Iíve had an opportunity to read empirical studies that examine the phenomenon. The Bodenhausen, Kramer,
& Susser article was particularly interesting because it combined emotional theories with stereotypic judgments, another topic that I am inherently I'm
interested in. The article was also a great example of the methodological process and theory development and testing, something you have been stressing
to our class all semester.
on Macraeís stereotype rebound article that we read, I was thinking that
stereotype suppression might be an alternate explanation for Bodenhausenís
findings. Bodenhausen et al.
showed that happy individuals made more stereotypical judgments than neutral
mood individuals. Experiment 2
showed that these stereotypical judgments occurred even when the happy
participants were not cognitively distracted.
Perhaps the feeling of happiness suppresses all other negative thoughts,
including stereotyping. Our neutral
emotion state is one in which we are aware of both our negative and positive
thoughts. A state of happiness
suppresses negative thoughts, including stereotyping and elevates our mood.
When negative thoughts are brought back into our consciousness, like
being asked to make a judgment call, then these thoughts are more negative than
usual. This is evidence by the fact
that Bodenhausen et al.ís participants in a happy mood rated stereotyped
targets more negatively than the non-stereotyped targets.
This was not seen in the neutral group because their negative thoughts
had not been suppressed via a feeling of happiness.
Therefore their negative judgments did not rebound and subsequently the
stereotyped and non-stereotyped individuals were rated equally.
Experiment 4 can also be explained along this line of logic.
Participants who were held accountable for their judgments were less
stereotypic than those who were not accountable in the happy condition.
The fact that participants were going to be held accountable made their
processing conscious and more effortful. They
may have become aware of their rebound effect and tempered their judgments.
If Macraeís participants would have been told that they were going to
have to explain their paragraphs about the skinhead or explain why they chose to
sit in the seat they did, Iím sure their stereotypic reactions would have been
tempered as well.
was also intrigued by the Sinclair, Mark, & Clore article and how it related
to Bodenhausen et al. Both articles
demonstrated how participants in happy moods rely on automatic processes or
mental heuristics when interpreting information or making a judgment.
Sinclair et al. demonstrated how happy people are influenced the same by
strong and weak persuasive arguments. However,
unhappy people engage in more effortful processing and therefore more influenced
by stronger arguments and discount weaker ones.
Unlike Bodenhausen et al., Sinclair et al. showed that when participants
are aware of the cause of their mood, the effects of mood disappear and the
argument quality affects attitude. It
would be interesting to take this paradigm and apply it to a stereotype judgment
situation like in Bodenhausen et al. What
if Bodenhausenís participants had been made aware of the fact that their
recall experience had influenced their mood?
It seems likely that the effect of happiness on participantís ratings
would be attenuated. There should be
no differences between the neutral mood condition and the happy mood conditions
on stereotypical judgment ratings. The
participants should be come aware of the external influences on their emotion
and therefore could not use their mood to cue their processing (automatic vs.
am also a little confused about the influence of negative emotions on
stereotypic judgments. Both Sinclair
et al. and Bodenhausen et al. suggests that happy people use more automatic
mechanisms in processing information. On
the other hand, unhappy people engage in more motivated an conscious thinking
because they are, letís say not at an ideal goal state or their rate of
movement towards a goals state is not ideal, in the terminology of last weekís
authors. Why then do unhappy people
and happy individuals both make stereotypic judgments?
If unhappy people are engaging in effortful processing shouldnít they
realize that they are stereotyping and be more likely to not make stereotypic
judgment, in a Devine-like interpretation? Bodenhausen
appears to be saying that happy people will make stereotypical judgments because
they are using heuristic cues and also people in negative mood will make
stereotypical judgments because they are more deeply processing environmental
cues. The two statements are contradictory.
Would motivational accountability also attenuated stereotypical judgments
in people with negative affect as well? This
also seems like a good follow-up study.